I am voting for Sen. Barack Obama for president because of his strong and consistent support for the State of Israel.
That's right. Despite the unfair Republican attacks on Obama which allege that he's weak on the issue, the truth is, support of Israel is, among many other things, an excellent reason to vote for him.
Here are a few examples of his record:
On Nov. 10, 2005, Obama voted in favor of appropriating $2.2 billion in military aid to Israel.
On July 18, 2006, in the wake of the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, and the war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, the U.S. Senate considered a resolution, co-sponsored by Barack Obama, endorsing Israel's right to self-defense, and condemning the violence of Hamas and Hezbollah.
The resolution also supported Israel's right to take appropriate action to deter aggression by terrorist groups and their state sponsors.
Obama voted for the resolution, and it passed.
In 2007, Obama sponsored and helped pass the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, which made it U.S. policy to support the decisions of state and local governments, and educational institutions, to divest from companies doing business with Iran.
In 2006, Obama co-sponsored and helped pass the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, discouraging international aid to the Palestinian Authority until and unless Hamas recognizes Israel, disarms and renounces violence.
In 2002, while an Illinois State Senator, Barack Obama sponsored a resolution that condemned terrorist attacks against Israel, and called on Yasser Arafat to put an end to attacks that emanate from areas under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction.
While an Illinois State Senator, Barack Obama voted to amend the State Moneys Act to provide for constitutional authority for the Illinois state treasurer to invest in Israel Bonds. The bill, which passed, also prohibits State of Illinois funds from being invested in Sudan.
In all his time in the U.S. Senate, on every military-appropriations and foreign-aid bill for Israel, Barack Obama has voted exactly in tandem with AIPAC's position on the proposed legislation.
His voting record is no less supportive of Israel than the record of Sen. John McCain.
We should judge Obama by his record, not just by what he says. His support for Israel, judged by his votes and speeches, is sterling.
On Feb. 14, 2007, at an AIPAC meeting, he said, "We must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance, and continuing work on the Arrow and related missile-defense programs."
Obama has said that Israel is among the "most important of America's allies, and its security is sacrosanct."
One of the reasons he has so many Jewish supporters in Illinois and across the nation is that he has been a stalwart friend of Israel and has supported the special relationship between the United States and Israel.
Obama spoke with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as the Annapolis talks convened, reiterating his commitment to Israel's security as the basis for peace negotiations.
Sympathy for Israeli Victims
In the wake of deadly rocket attacks from Gaza into Sederot and Ashkelon, he called Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to express support for Israel, as well as condolences for the families of Jewish victims.
On his visit to Israel this past summer, he went to Sederot to stand with Israelis who have been under fire.
The U.S.-Israel relationship has been and remains the centerpiece of Obama's Middle East policy.
George W. Bush has mostly neglected the region for the past seven years. It's time for a new direction.
It won't be easy to bring Hamas to the table. But discussions must begin, on the basis of Hamas renouncing violence, in word and deed.
When that moment arrives, we need a leader who will not neglect the prospects for peace but, instead, will engage all parties.
Barack Obama is that leader.
David Broida is a Democratic Party committeeman in Merion.